Your organization has many subject matter experts — now is the ideal time to begin bundling this expertise into thought leadership.
This can help build brand awareness, draw in better leads, and fix engage and nurture existing client connections.
As stated in my book “ The Thought Leader Way”, thought leadership is associated with sharing the brand’s insight and expertise to instruct, impact, and persuade the target audience toward making a buying decision. By showcasing thought leadership you get an opportunity to showcase your brand as a go-to resource for all things relevant to that topic of the domain.
Here are a few ways to identify your thought leadership content topics:
• Use research and surveys to identify potential focus areas, pain points, and interests of your target audience.
• Analyze your competitor’s content assets to identify white spaces that you can focus upon or take an alternative point of view to what is being presented already.
• Use social listening tools to identify trending topics and map them to your areas of expertise.
• Read industry association reports, analyst reports, and academic journals to identify focus topics.
Adopting some of these strategies can help build your content calendar. Alternatively, you can also set up brainstorming sessions with your internal subject matter experts to identify themes and topics and build on them further.
The biggest challenge faced by most marketers is getting the time of the subject matter experts to create these thought leadership assets. Most of them will be pressed for time, yet it must be their voice and mastery that is reflected in the content piece. Here are a few ways you can work around that challenge:
• Record the subject matter expert (SME) talking through the theme or the topic in focus. You can send questions about SME in advance before the meeting so that they can have their thoughts together for the briefing. Using some of the phrases, and style of narration in your content writing can give the content asset more credibility.
• Support the SME with an expert professional writer. An expert writer has the insight into molding the creator's thoughts and considerations into a story that can capture the reader’s attention. An expert writer additionally can create content in the voice of the SME. Additionally, it helps the SME to turn around the content asset faster in the manner they are looking at — that's what they like.
Keep in mind that the impact of thought leadership content is not only in its creation but also in its dissemination. Long-format content can be promoted through SEO, and SEM while shorter formats of blogs and articles can be promoted through social channels like LinkedIn and Medium while using YouTube or Vimeo to promote video assets among others. The more accessible your content is to your target audience, the better would be its engagement and thereby lead to conversions.
The key aspect to keep in mind while embarking on the thought leadership journey is that it’s a long-term game. Many times, you may not see positive traction for a long time- doesn’t mean the program isn’t working, it's just that building thought leadership takes time. Companies that stay invested in it with razor-sharp focus will surely see positive ROI in the long run. Working with experts who can help design and run these thought leadership programs can help accelerate your results faster.
Karthik is the Co-Founder of Pink Ladder and Founder & Director of ThoughtStarters. He has over a decade of experience in branding, communication strategy, executive communication & thought leadership marketing, human resource and operations management. He has been instrumental in creating many award winning programs for leading brands like MeritTrac-India's largest Skills Assessment Company, Wipro Technologies and Accenture. He has worked closely with leading universities, industry bodies, analysts and research firms globally and acted as a catalyst in providing best practices and insights to customers across sectors. He has authored papers & articles in international journals & has been a guest speaker at many Ivy League Universities globally. He is a serial entrepreneur, always on the look out for the next big idea! Karthik has a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science from Bangalore University and an MBA in Marketing & Finance from IIPM Bangalore.